Have you bought any peanut butter lately? If so, perhaps you should check the label for signs of the GOP. The current wide spread salmonella poisoning of peanut butter is a great metaphor for the leadership of the GOP for the past eight years. The Bush administration, supported by the same congressmen who now oppose Obama, had one simple philosophy in domestic affairs: Leave Business Alone!
The general attitude that permeated all federal government agencies the past eight years is one of ‘hands off.’ They religiously followed the mantra of Ronald Reagan, less government is better government. What are some of attitudes driving government agency decision making?
- Do not bother with regulating products coming from China. They less expensive goods from China means larger business profits for American business – which they will surely reinvest in America. Parents should be responsible enough to protect their children from dangerous toys.
- Do not bother with OSHA, that agency serves to increase business costs by requiring safe working condidtions. If the worker does not feel safe – let him find another job.
- Do not worry about hurricane protection. Requiring protection for people would drive up the cost of goods and services passing through the port city of New Orleans. FEMA is geared toward anti-terrorism. It is not the government’s responsibility to protect individuals from the weather. Those people in New Orleans knew they lived below sea level – what did they expect – another government handout?
- Grant Iraq rebuilding contracts to Halliburton and other businesses without bidding – bidding serves to delay projects, raises costs, and creates undue hardship on business to compete.
- Do not attempt to regulate investment banking – the government should not impair the profitability of banks. Individuals who contract with the banks must beware – that is the GOP moto: Let the buyer beware.
- Do not regulate the Big Oil Companies – they are the lifeblood of our economy. In fact, we should let them drill in previously protected National Forests.
- Do not require emission standards on United States Auto Companies. The big three have enough trouble with those pesky unions.
- Do not worry about the global environment, regulating pollution would drive up business costs.
- Let the States repair their own highways. The federal government built the interstate highway system, let the States maintain them. If they want the trucking industry and tourism to thrive in their States they will take care of the roads and bridges.
- Do not worry about equal opportunities for health care – people need to learn to be more responsible.
- Do not worry about equal opportunities for higher education, or pre-school education for that matter. If people want an education bad enough they will find a way.
- And last but not least, downsize the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Government sponsored lunch programs for children would incur increased costs if we require the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches be free from harmful contaminants. And besides, it is not our children who get the government peanut butter anyway.
The pathetic lack of responsibility by the GOP in the past eight years is evidenced every day in America.
- How many people have been sickened by contaminated peanut butter?
- How many children will suffer long term physical and mental ailments from lead poisoning?
- How much money was made by big business at the expense of those children?
- How many lives were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina?
- How many people could not afford to put gasoline in the cars to drive to work?
- How many people died in bridge collapses – and how many die every day because of deteriorating highways?
- How much tax money went to favored corporations in the rebuilding of Iraq?
- How many more people will suffer as the climate changes, bringing larger storms and drought?
- How many people died as a result of cancer or other disease because they could not afford to be tested – and then could not afford the care?
- How many people have lost their entire life savings to unregulated banks?
- How many people have gone bankrupt as a consequence of predatory lending?
- How many people will have to work ten years longer than they planned because of a deteriorating economy?
There are certainly extremes of anything. This writer fears a major pendulum swing to the far left – with government intrusion into all aspects of our lives. That might well happen as a result of the lack of responsibility of the Bush Administration.
Had the Bush Administration been simply diligent in following existing government regulations, in checking for food poisoning in peanut butter plants, in checking the levies at New Orleans, in questioning the complex financial models of Wall Street, in protecting the environment with sane emmission standards, in regulating the greed of Big Oil, in applying reasonable standards of safety on Chinese products – in simply doing their jobs as agents of our government.
Surely there is a healthy balance of government participation in our lives.